Nielsen collects top ten finish, valuable experience at Laguna Seca
Christina Nielsen collected more experience and a top-10 finish after two races May 4 in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MONTEREY, Calif., (May 6, 2014) -- Nielsen posted the second-quickest lap time in final practice before qualifications for Rounds 3 and 4 of the series on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit. But she hit a curb while qualifying and damaged the suspension of the No. 25 Platinum Cup car prepared by NGT Motorsport. With only four laps completed during the qualification session, Nielsen earned the 11th starting position.
"We started out really well during practice, and I had a good feeling for qualifying," Nielsen said. "Unfortunately when I broke my car's suspension during qualifying, we were set back for the rest of the race weekend."
Nielsen picked up one position during Race 1 to finish 10th.
"I didn't feel like I had a perfect car during Race 1, but the team and I didn't have much time to work on trying different setups," Nielsen said. "But we still gained valuable championship points."
Nielsen started 13th in Race 2 and climbed through the field before an incident in the famous "Corkscrew" turn halted her momentum. She ended up 28th at the finish.
"NGT gave me a fantastic car for the second race," Nielsen said. "I think you could really see how good the car was in my lap times, which were on par with the leaders. I drove from 13th to sixth and I had my eyes on the next two positions, as well. I waited for a weak point in my competitors and found it, but was cut off in the 'Corkscrew' and had nowhere to go. The car was damaged, and I had to pit."
Nielsen already has her sights set on the next Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama event May 23-24 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut. She will complete a Skip Barber Racing School session at the 1.5-mile road course before she arrives for the race weekend.
"One of the biggest areas of focus for me throughout this season is going to be learning the tracks," Nielsen said. "I'm showing up to these races in different cars and under different conditions than I'm used to driving. Learning the tracks ahead of time ensures that my lap times are right where they need to be for practice and qualifying. We're off to a great start with NGT Motorsport, and we're going to work on continuing to move in the right direction."
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